Thursday, May 20, 2010

This remembering

I've started a new book. Actually it's a book that I started reading when I was home for Christmas, but I wasn't able to finish the whole book. I was literally reading on the way to the airport. You can't take a library book to a different state. It just doesn't work out. :)

I'm reading "Kiss" by Ted Dekker and Erin Healy. Dekker is by far my favorite author. There's something about his writing that just pulls you in and keeps you attached. I'm only on page 135 but it's been great remembering the book. It's about a girl named Shauna who wakes up after six weeks in a coma. She and her brother were involved in a tragic car crash that left her beloved brother half the man he used to be. She wakes up not being able to remember the last six months. Her life is surrounded by people who hate her for the car accident, who hate her for what she did to her brother.

As she tries to remember, she finds herself dreaming of other people's experiences. You'll have to read the book to under that last sentence. But there is a conversation she has with her maid. It is important to note that her maid, Khai, had her daughter taken from her and sold. She's been looking for her ever since. Here it is below:

"Khai shook her head and handed a hot cup of tea to Shauna, then took a seat at the window. "My daughter turns fifteen today, if she is still alive," Khai said. "Sometimes I wonder if I would know her if I saw her. I wonder who she looks like, and what her voice sound like. I wonder if she remembers any impressions of me."

Shauna closed her eyes. She was not in the frame of mind to engage Khai on such an intense topic.

"In a way," Khai said, "she and I don't know each other at all. But there is a part of me that senses we have never stopped knowing each other, that we have never forgotten each other." She nodded, contemplative. "Yes, I'm pretty sure I would know her."

"That's nice."

"Can I tell you a story?"

Shauna let her eyes say yes even though her mind said no.

"When my husband, Chuan, took our daughter away, people told me to forget her. I must get on with my life, they said, there was nothing I could do. Chuan returned to our little house with his dirty money and said we would have more children. He more than anyone wanted me to forget. Forget, forget!

"For a while I considered this. The pain was so deep and so raw. There were days I would have died just to forget. The problem was, I couldn't figure out how to get her out of my mind. How do you kill that kind of pain?"

"If you're going to tell me that my amnesia is a mercy-"

Khai held up her hand. "No. Wait. I had heard of a missionary in our village who was said to help people forget the darkness of their past. Some said he was a miracle worker who knew how to cover up everything terrible that followed you like a shadow. His God could cut it off and replace it with hope. I went to this man thinking he could help me to separate from my shadow."

"Peter Pan magic," Shauna observed.

"Didn't you ever wonder why that boy always wanted his shadow reattached?"

This conversation was baffling Shauna.

"But the missionary was no magician," Khai said. "When I told him and his wife what I wanted, they should have laughed at me, but they didn't. Instead they told me that my past was not something God wanted to amputate. He wanted to cast a new light on it so that it would become useful to him and to others. If I tried to deny that shadow in my life, the truth of it would be useful to no one." pages 130 - 131)

Skipping ahead to not spoil the book.


"You can't possibly miss that kind of pain."

"Even our worst memories are valuable." (page 132)

And more:

"Why have you told me all this?" she (Shauna) asked.

"Because Wayne wants you to forget your pain. You want to forget your pain. I mean to tell you that doing that will only cause you more harm."

"I don't want to forget my pain, Khai. I want to live. Something happened to me that someone else doesn't want me to remember."

"Of course they don't! Listen to me. The only things worth forgetting are the offenses others have caused us. Those will distract you from living. But if someone tells you to forget your own history, you can expect he has his own agenda in mind. His own selfish or his own intolerance for pain. Or something far more harmful."

"I haven't forgotten anything willingly."

"Then you will have to work harder than the average person to hold on to what is true. If you forget, Shauna, your suffering will rule you instead of free you." (page 132-33).

There is always something appealing about forgetting. Even in personal experience, I thought forgetting would help me but the obsession with forgetting only hurt me more because that masked the pain I thought was healing. The only thing that really helped me was remembering. Because remembering causes the pain to be real and when that pain is real, you can move on. It's not an easy journey but it's a journey worth taking. I'd rather never return to the person or place I was four years ago. Sometimes it takes God remembering for you, for you to forgive (not forget) and move on.

I learned that forgetting wasn't healthy. I also learned that always remembering wasn't either. I learned to remember without it taking my breath away. I learned that remembering and telling your friends can actually bind that friendship. The friends I have made at ORU have similar experiences. They understand me. It's nice because I don't have to reintroduce me and all my baggage to them. They already know. Remembering your pain could actually help someone else heal from theirs. Holding back only hurts you. Ted Dekker even says it his book. So it has to be true. :)

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